Dollhouse Episode 2.8

Some neurons:

Such a good teaser. Bankrupt guy loves a woman who doesn't exist. An "abstraction". The idea of her is what sustains him even when he can't have her anymore. But then Alpha comes in -- it's not enough.

That ideal, abstract woman is only a part of Echo, and Echo is bigger than that. The ideal is not as true and complex as a real human being. And that's what Alpha is interested it. A love supreme, one that encompasses the entire person. Real, equal, reciprocal love. Echo's clients settled for less, which is why Alpha kills them. But Ballard didn't. He wants Echo whole. And Echo loves him for it, which is why Alpha wants to be Ballard.

But is Ballard all that great? Joel calls him a "freak" when he hears he's working for the Dollhouse, and with good reason. We are reminded again -- Ballard hasn't saved Echo. He actually puts her back inside the Dollhouse, sure with Echo's concent and in order to take it down, but the way he can live with the means to that end is slightly disconcerting. We also have the stuff from the previous episode, where he can't accept that Echo is ready to make choices about who she loves. There's something about Ballard that just cannot stop fighting battles, which is both admirable and a little... freaky.

Great stuff between DeWitt and psychologist-Victor. Dewitt has to control her sexuality. Letting go is met with chastisement, punishment. Power requires a repression of femininity. The guys don't have to deal with that. (It's very cruel that Victor is the one telling her this -- her one weakness.) And Dewitt is jealous of Echo, who's sexuality, moulded my men (virgin, whore), is celebrated. She has personal reasons for torturing her.

Great stuff between Joel and Echo as well. The memories of the dead remain in our minds, like imprints. They become a part of who we are.

And of course we have to end with Echo. "What does that make her?" asks Topher, when he discovers she can remember and recall all her imprints. A free agent, is the answer. And what does that make Topher? "Obsolete", as he himself realizes. He's not in control anymore. Echo can choose who she wants to be.

I should really say this more often, but Eliza Dusku has been brilliant this season, perhaps because she now has more of a stable personality to work with. Major probs. Could have been the next Sarah Michelle Gellar, I'm sure of it.

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